Greek Getaway: Athens, July 2015

by - Friday, September 18, 2015

Hello again!

On the 27th of July, I left for Athens with one of my closest friends, Helin. 
During the evening, we departed from London Heathrow airport, landing in Stockholm at around midnight. Thus began our 5 hour layover in a very cold airport, which didn't actually sound too bad when we booked the tickets. However, our fatigue mixed with our hunger and lack of comfortable seating made it 5 of the most painful hours of the entire trip! Unsurprisingly, as soon as we reached our hotel early the next afternoon, we took a much needed nap before enjoying a large 3 course meal at a restaurant not too far from our hotel in Syngrou Fix called Diva Pizza. 

Needless to say, as the capital of Greece there is obviously a lot to explore in Athens, including the Acropolis, the Panathenaic stadium (which hosted the first modern Olympic games), the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Plaka and the ancient city of Corinth, just outside of Athens - if you plan to visit, go with Tas' taxi company! We would have been lost in Corinth without him. 

It's a miracle we even managed to get any sightseeing done when the temperature on some days soared to as high as 40 degrees!  Luckily, transport in Athens is somewhat reliable, with a metro service that runs throughout the city  so you can get from place to place without much hassle. The sun definitely makes you work up an appetite, but the city is filled with countless numbers of restaurants. Many of them will have members stood out front practically dragging you towards the nearest empty seat, willingly or not. A lot of the time (but not always...) these particular restaurants are frankly, shit. All too many restaurants serve the same generic food, which is often average at best. The places where Helin and I enjoyed our most favourite dishes were those that weren't jumping down your throats before you'd even had a proper look at the menu!

A little place by the name of Vanilla Bistro, where we stopped for lunch one afternoon has to be one of my favourite restaurants/cafes in Athens. We were treated so kindly by the young woman who served us and the food was exceptional! Helin and I shared a platter of some authentic home made Greek food while we sipped on ice cold lemonades, which she made fresh! It was just what we needed after a long day of sightseeing.

One thing I noticed from almost the minute we got to Athens was how many people I caught staring at me! I suspected it was because of my skin colour, but living in London which is so culturally diverse, I  sometimes forget that not everybody is used to seeing people of different nationalities on a daily basis. I have to add that I definitely was not offended, rather I found it quite endearing that so many people were taking an interest in me. It made me feel like a celebrity. 

What wasn't quite so pleasant was all the male attention we were getting. By the end of the 4 nights, Helin and I had already gotten used to men of all ages shouting various things (like "kavla" for example, which literally means "you're making me horny") and beeping at us from their cars. You eventually learn to tune it out.

If we'd had more time in Athens, I would have loved to see the less commercial side of it. Of course it was exciting seeing all of the ancient ruins, but the reason I usually go travelling is to immerse myself in a culture that is unfamiliar to myself. I want to experience what the young locals of Athens really get up to in their spare time. Perhaps on my next visit, I will explore deeper.

That's all for now,

Tay x

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